Intimate (Post-)Impressionism at the Seattle Art Museum
Instructor: Marek Wieczorek
Office hours: W. 9:30-10:30 PM & by appointment
Office: 355 Art building
This upper-division art history course on Impressionism and Post-Impressionism is held in conjunction with an exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art is an exhibition that features 68 intimately scaled paintings by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters, including Renoir, Manet, Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh, among others. This is the first time this selection of the collection has traveled outside its home in Washington, DC. We will explore in depth the history and prehistory of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism and have several gallery visits (usually on Fridays). We will discuss critical issues that currently preoccupy the discipline of art history, including the self-conscious reflection on the different methods available in approaching art, issues of gender, and the role of genre and medium.
Impressionism is a term first coined in 1874 with what came to be known as the first impressionist exhibition that year in Paris. At that point in time, few people could appreciate what these for their time radical painters were trying to do, whereas today Impressionism remains one of the most celebrated of movements. Characterized by radip, visible brush work and a focus on the capturing of light through usually bright colors, the work of the Impressionists faced harsh criticism from the establishment, especially academic painters. We will examine the work in relation to academic precepts, but also to earlier radical shifts in modernist painting, and relate the advancements of this group of “intransigent” painters also to a younger generation of followers whose work developed out of impressionism, the so-called Post-Impressionists, who are amply represented in the exhibition. Broadly defined, Post-Impressionism signals the work of painters who found themselves amidst a larger “crisis in representation” in the philosophy, art, sciences, and politics of the 1880s and 1890s that is inseparable from the shape of our modernity today. In this class we will accordingly examine changing perceptions of the role of color, modern life, psychology, modes of production, the avant-garde, and the “primitive.” Because discussion is an integral part of the course, class participation is vital to the success of the class as well as to your grade.
Grading for the course will be based on one exam, two papers, and your participation. Exams will include slide identifications, compare and contrast questions, short essays, and discussion of “names and terms” from the weekly handouts. Class sessions will mainly involve slide lectures and discussions of the week’s readings. There will be a single paper of medium length (in a two-step process) and only one graded exam, scheduled during Finals week (although there will be a "trial" Midterm to familiarize you with the format early on). Exams will include slide identifications, compare and contrast questions, essays, and discussion of “names and terms” from the weekly handouts. Many new postings on this website will generate an email on your UW email account, so you know to look. However, if for some reason the notification fails, you are still responsible for checking regularly, so you can keep up.
Exam: 40 %
Paper: 50 %
Participation: 10 %
A minimum of a 60 % score is required to pass the course.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: No late or early exams will be given or late papers accepted, except in cases of documented emergencies.
Readings for the course are assigned via the weekly listing found in the Schedule and Readings section of the course website, which accumulates and changes on an almost weekly basis (so stay tuned!). The actual readings are mainly Pdfs posted in the Files section, some web links, and some eBooks accessible through the UW Library. On a weekly basis, slides will be put on electronic- or E-reserve (link to Review Images page) so you can study the works you are expected to know (I will send email notifications). It is essential that you do the readings before class; only then your participation through informed questions and in-class discussions will be able to count toward your grade. Please make sure to note and keep up with the weekly additions to the syllabus with assignments for readings and lists of names and terms.
HISTORICALLY, STUDENTS WHO HAVE COME TO ALL CLASS SESSIONS HAVE DONE WELL IN THE COURSE (those who missed three or more sessions were significantly affected in terms of their grades)
Final: Thursday, December 17, 2015, 8:30-10:20, ART 317
Please bring your own exam book
Reviews will be given, usually the last class before the exam. A trial exam will be scheduled about halfway through the quarter.